When Samm and John Meagher reflect on the process of building their dream family home, John acknowledges that it was, at times, emotional. Together with Samm, he wanted every detail to be right so that the space was maximised to be enjoyed by the family for many years to come.
The house is calm and serene before school and work days are over, but when they drip feed in from their respective days, it’s easy to see that this tight knit family of six have fun together, with many laughs shared between parents and kids.
But, family fun aside, the couple put a lot of thought into researching their options when it came time to build. “We had been considering building for some time, but the process always seemed a daunting one, given our busy lives with family and work,” Samm explains.
Samm is a publicist turned fitness instructor, and John is the founder and managing director of residential project development sales agency, Three Sixty Property Group. Bring four children into the picture, and you can understand how the dream family home spent some time as a dream before becoming reality.
“We were drawn to InForm because of the design aesthetic and because it is a long-established, family-run business that had the expertise to manage the entire process from design to demolition to hand-over and beyond.”
With over 20 years’ experience in the property development industry, John’s line of work also meant that he was very thorough with the process and the details. He explored many options, from design and construction firms to engaging architects and finding a builder, but InForm’s flexible yet methodical approach stuck out to him.
“We did our research on a lot of design and construction firms, but we thought that we’d be constrained by their particular models,” John says.
“There was one big firm we considered that was trying to put a square peg in a round hole. Their home design didn’t fit our site, while the InForm team were so engaged in designing something completely custom to our block and our family’s needs.”
"You still feel connected with everyone else in the house and there are no areas that are not used or loved.”
The resulting design was every bit as unique as promised, and the design team worked collaboratively with Samm and John to get every last detail right. In fact, the process was so enjoyable for Samm and John that moving in was almost bittersweet.
“When we moved in, we were obviously thrilled to the point that Samm and I often found ourselves laughing because we couldn’t believe how lucky we were,” John says. “But, we were also a little bit sad because all of a sudden we weren’t speaking with our InForm family as often.”
As you walk into the Meagher’s new home, the first thing that is apparent is the sense of light and space. It’s large and lofty – far bigger than your average Melbourne home – yet it’s incredibly warm and peaceful.
“The flow of the house is beautiful,” Samm tells me. “Even though it is large, you still feel connected with everyone else in the house and there are no areas that are not used or loved.”
The architecture and interior does not seek to be grand or opulent. Instead, it offers space for each family member to find retreat without feeling disconnected. “One of my concerns with building a larger home was that we’d lose that feeling of togetherness, but it’s probably brought us closer together,” says John.
Sam agrees. The result of thoughtful, purposeful design planning, Samm was intent on striking the balance of togetherness and space. “This was a huge focus of the design, to give each family member some peace without disbanding us, and I couldn’t be happier with how the family works within the space.”
As we wrap up our shoot, I’m offered a lens into what family life is like for the Meaghers in their new home. John and Samm continue to talk house with me around the kitchen bench as the kids and their friends fly in and out of the room, laughing and asking their parents questions about the weekend along the way.
With Saturday morning sport on the agenda for the following morning, John tells me how the kitchen, the hub of the home, becomes a production line of making smoothies and breakfast in the morning before the day’s busy activities ahead.
But at the end of the day, Sam tells me, it’s all about coming back together in the ‘snug’, as the second living room has affectionately become known. “We love hanging out there all together, watching a movie or just debriefing on the day.”
As I picture the family of six – soccer uniforms and all – piling into the dimly lit snug after a big day at school and work, it is clear to see that their home fits its purpose; a place designed and built for family enjoyment, indeed.As our conversation concludes, and Adrian returns to his work, it’s abundantly clear that this family is contented and comfortable in their urban haven. Summer, or winter, it seems, this home is fit for purpose.
This story is an extract from UnFold, our print magazine. Please contact InForm for a copy.